Roger Daltrey (Courtesy of Annemarie Perrone)
Review: Rock legend thrills audience at Turning Stone
VERONA — The lights in the Event Center at Turning Stone Resort and Casino dimmed as a packed crowd eagerly awaited Rock N’ Roll royalty on the night of July 10.
The time between the darkening of the stage lights and the moment a living legend stepped on stage felt like an eternity, with that giddy, butterfly feeling felt stomach-deep getting more and more profound. And, with the blink of an eye, it all was there.
Roger Daltrey, along with his solo band, took to the stage as a sea of concert-goers erupted in a frenzy of euphoria. As the audience’s excitement increased, the band remained poised and concentrated, ready to begin a performance that would transport listeners back decades to a time when Rock N’ Roll classics were just spreading their wings for the first time.
Behind blue tinted glasses, the singer evaluated the crowd before him. His once long, brown curly hair has been shed, now replaced with short, grey locks. He stood tall and strong, absorbing the energy from the lively audience to fuel his performance.
“It’s great to revisit these songs again because it takes me back to when they were first written,” he told the crowd. “Great songs will always stand the test of time.”
While the legendary front man’s voice is what he attributes his success to, his presence alone spoke volumes. On a tour that only includes five shows, central New York would be his sole visit to the East Coast.
Many recognize Daltrey’s name and voice from his extensive work done with the legendary classic rock band, The Who. Formed in 1964, the English group, which featured Daltrey on lead vocals, Pete Townshend on guitar, John Entwistle on bass, and Keith Moon on drums, went on to create acclaimed songs and albums that changed the face of Rock N’ Roll.
The deaths of Moon in 1978 and Entwistle in 2002 meant that The Who had lost their original rhythm section, yet the band overcame the losses and propelled forward. Over 50 years of touring and creating original music does not seem to take any toll on the surviving members, who still sell out massive arenas world-wide.
Playing at the original 1969 Woodstock Music & Arts Fair and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 are just a couple accomplishments the The Who has under their belt.
Although the show at Turning Stone was booked under Daltrey as a solo act, numerous Who-hits were played, with classics like “Baba O’Riley,” “Pinball Wizard,” and “Who Are You.”
Throughout the night, Daltrey conversed with the audience and made jokes in between songs, most specifically aimed at his age. The 74-year-old rocker doesn’t believe he fits the stigma his age group has, and shows no signs of slowing down.
“I may be getting up there in years, but I’m not in the nursing home yet,” he said with a laugh. “As long as I can still remember the words and sing these songs, I’ll keep going.”
Even at his age, Daltrey is still making original music. Certain songs played at the show came from his newest album, “As Long As I Have You.” Released last month, this album would be Daltrey’s tenth solo project.
After all of the years of tirelessly touring all over the world, the veteran rocker has still got his moves. Looking fit and energetic, the singer danced, played guitar, harmonica, and tambourine, and famously swung his microphone around his head, catching it every time and belting out notes with the same ease that he did all of those years ago.
Yet, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.
The show was a dream-like entity, with audience members under a trance of the music that was played. As people exited the venue, there was an urge to repeatedly look over at the stage one last time to see if the front man would reappear, though that dream would not become a reality.
While songs still rung in the ears of those who witnessed his performance, powerful words that Daltrey once said hung within the minds of attendees. Daltrey urged the crowd to never give up on the power of music and to not be afraid to create their own masterpieces.
“Writing and playing music is one of the most rewarding experiences ever,” he said in between tunes. “I love my job. If it weren’t for music, I don’t know where I would be today. In terms of writing songs, as long as they come from the heart, it will be a great song, and that is a guarantee.”